Firefox Memory Hog

Now, for almost as long as I can remember (yes, I have a short memory), I have been a big fan of Firefox. I work on web applications so I have quite a few browsers installed, but generally I stick to Firefox for most browsing, with IE as a “backup” for those odd little sites which are cabbaged in other browsers. Opera is installed, but it doesn’t get used as often as the “big two” and the Seamonkey / Mozila etc browsers are hardly touched (anyone use Amaya for browsing?).

Recently, Firefox informed me that it had been updated and needed a restart. I dutifully complied and everything seemed to run fine.

As the hours and days passed, I noticed that my system was becoming slower and slower – web pages were taking an eternity to open and when I was running Photoshop or other system intensive applications everything really was starting to slow down. For reference, my system is an Athlon 64 x2 3800+ (Dual processor) with 1gb of ram. You would hope, that it would be fast at web browsing and basic office applications. It was, until recently…

Some initial research revealed that crap-shop-crap-ISP Pipex was providing me with a fraction of the broadband service they claimed, which explains the slow web pages (somewhat), but the problem remains in locally hosted pages. Despite my disgust with Pipex, they can’t really be blamed for everything else slowing down either.

Eventually, I cracked and bothered myself to look into this. Opening task manager reveals a possible cause of the problems. Firefox is a massive memory hog. I mean massive.

An example I had Firefox open with nothing other than this blog displayed. IE was running with this blog, Flickr, eBay and gmail tabs open.

Firefox was using 164mb of RAM vs IE which was using 98mb. IE had more tabs open and the tabs had more data-heavy pages.

What on Earth has the world come to. I tried opera with the blog page and flickr open and it hardly registered a byte. Blimey.

It seems that firefox, at least with this current “Upgrade” has become a worse memory hog than IE. Opera is like lightning in comparison to Firefox, but it always has been – seeing IE more responsive and less memory intensive is pretty shocking. I am going to look into this a bit more, but I would be interesting in hearing any other experiences on this subject.

[tags]Firefox, Mozilla,Internet Explorer, Opera, IE, Technology, Web Browsers, RAM, Memory, System Resources, Computers, Computing, Software, Problems, IT, Upgrade, Pipex, ISP, Amaya, Internet[/tags]

Life before the Internet?

How do you get broadband if you don’t have an Internet connection?

Answer: You phone someone with a net connection to do it for you.

Explanation: TW is currently offline due to having to move to a place in which only the most intrepid ISPs will offer the most minimal services. Thanks to the world-class silliness of Virgin media tech support service, I have also very recently spent another two weeks offline. I will spare you from the uber-dull details, solved eventually again by the Cafe-Nero-style lad who seems to be Virgin’s only competent techy. It was hellish, in a very mild sense of the word “hellish”, true, but, nonetheless, you wouldn’t choose to do it.

In fact, how does anyone live now without being plugged into the matrix of the Net?

Even given the willful Luddism that stops me from doing Internet banking or shopping, I genuinely can’t imagine how we lived before the Internet, let alone before PCs. It’s not that I wasn’t alive, then, either.

But, to be honest, I can barely conceive of there not being an Internet. If ever anything felt like historical inevitability, it’s the world wide web.

How did we get information? Despite dumping industrial quantities of used books on charity shops every time I move, this house is still a book depository. But, it never has a book with the right information when I need it.

Which is always ten minutes ago, because of the “instant information gratification” expectation that has come along with the Internet. So the library won’t do either.

In fact the local library, which was limited enough (with romantic novels, improving multicultural children’s books and fishing hobbyist books filling about 70% of its shelves) has been more or less replaced by a caffeine-beverages-free Internet cafe. The incommoding books got sold off for pennies, even adding a few volumes to the aforementioned book depository.

I seem to remember it was possible to write letters, take photos, contact people, do calculations, play games, draw pictures, play music and so on. It seems unlikely that we did them much, though, given how bloody hard it is to do any of these things without a computer and a net connection.

Pencil and paper are OK. At least they are portable. But, have you tried using a manual typewriter? A calculator? Well, you just wouldn’t, would you? You might as well get out the slate and abacus.

Have you tried even using your PC without the Internet, recently? It’s OK for playing music and doing 3d rendering. After that it’s like playing frisbee with a dog with its back legs cutoff.

Atheist Programmers

Can anyone tell me why so many programmers, software engineers, web designers and the like are devout theists? I spend a fair amount of my time searching the web for things like plugins, new themes and web design inspiration. Oddly, during these searches much more than half of the sites I come across are overt, campaigning theists. I dont mean they belong to people who “believe” but they are sites with blatant “I love God” type statements all over them. This also leads me to wonder what the other 40% of sites are run by — are Atheists such a minority in IT?

As a recent example, I found an interesting looking plugin (Post Information) which was a good few months old, so I thought I would go to the main blog to see if it was still in use (it doesn’t seem to be) or there was any info on it (there doesn’t seem to be).

However, on the main blog is a vast array of pages with text like:

Jesus Christ has a special place in the unfolding of history. History has a special place for Jesus. In fact, all of history is for Him (Colossians 1:16). He is not just a man nor is He just another religious leader.

Now, I am not going to turn this blog post into a simple anti-Theist post with loads of snide remarks. The person who made this blog did not force me to visit, they did not trick me into visiting, and they are not trying (as far as I saw) to pass of nonsensical woo as science. However, I am curious.

This is certainly not the first time it has happened, in fact it is almost the norm now to visit the home page for a plugin or similar and find lots of “I love Jesus” type messages. I have yet to come across a page which says “I am an atheist.” Is this a sign that designers (programmers etc) are more inclined to be theists? Is this a sign that theists make better programmers? Is this a sign that Atheists are simply more relaxed about their lack of beliefs?

Personally I think it is more the case that Atheists have no need to harp on about their imaginary friends and as a result, they simply don’t. Even if every site I come across which doesn’t have a “I heart Jesus” type thing is an Atheist, there are still a LOT of theists out there…

National ID database

For this, go to the source and read it. No more secrets by Steve Boggan is a very very disturbing account of how “joined-up government” and national ID documents will mean the end of anything resembling privacy.

The blurb on the printed page says:

“Tony Blair insists his government is not building a Big Brother-style super-database. But all the talk of ‘perfectly sensible’ reforms and ‘transformational government’ masks a chilling assault on our privacy”

Brilliant article. It’s almost too much to take in and it might leave you feeling very depressed. But, really, if you live in the UK, you should read it.